(Obviously everyone should have the freedom to practice any religion or lack thereof and wear whatever they please but that’s not really what this article is about)
As Muslim communities grow faster and faster in Europe so does the number of European-born Muslims, a collective of young people who, dissatisfied with the current situation, have taken it upon themselves to modernise their traditions and customs whilst trying to not compromise on their cultural and religious identity.
Today “modest fashion” is quickly evolving. We are seeing much more creativity when it comes to the type of scarves used and how they are styled. For example, in alternative to standard hijabs, we are seeing combinations of turbans and neck scarves or turtle necks in order to give a more modern effect yet still cover the desired amount of neck and hair. The use of different colours, patterns and materials is being embraced as opposed to just the traditional black viscose material. The same is happening in terms of covering the body, classic black abbaya dresses are beginning to be replaced by oversized jumpers and jackets over leggings or jeans so as to adapt modern clothing to traditional values. Floral and geometric patterns are largely popular alongside plain muted and pastel fabrics.
Lifestyle bloggers on the Internet are allowing modest fashion to flourish by updating the world on their personal sense of fashion, identity and opinions through videos and blogs. These young women have growing audiences of hundreds and thousands of subscribers, as they help fellow Muslim women feel more fashionable while simultaneously staying connected to their cultural values. Among these women is “twenty-something” year old, half Egyptian, half English, fashionista, blogger and entrepreneur Dina Torkia (Known as “Dina Tokio” on YouTube) who has one of the largest audiences amongst Muslim bloggers in the UK. Miss Torkia has spoken out in her videos about the confidence problems she has faced and her opinions on contemporary issues that her community faces today. Nevertheless, her main focus is on fashion and she has attended major events such as Istanbul Modest Fashion Week collaborated with major companies such as Liberty London and has set up her own fashion brand under her real name, looking to fill the market niche of modest fashion.
Never has it been so important to understand and respect our neighbours’ customs and traditions, to not ostracise, and take away what they feel identifies them and what can help them adapt to our society as we attempt to adapt to them. In short, we need to work towards a better future regardless of who we are and what we are, as the citizens of tomorrow.